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Cee: The Next Round In Gun Control

By Hero Cee


Gun control advocates are being vocal in Australia again. It must be that time of the year. A recent report by the University of Maryland and the Australian Institute of Criminology states that the 1996 Gun Buy Back was a success. This backlash move was prompted by the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. Here is where the 'facts' - as reported in the mainstream media - become a little hazy.

For example, The Australian newspaper ran an editorial on Monday October 7, 2002 in which it stated, "Most voters supported the $320 million outlay and seek nothing less than the strongest gun laws available." It goes on to say that, "While 643,000-plus guns were relinquished during the buyback of 1996-97, many of these were not the most dangerous types." Australians are being duped into thinking that the buyback was a good thing because (a) it made Australia a safe place; and (b) the buyback didn't cost much anyway. Let's step back and look at the math. During the buyback, those sporting shooters and farmers who surrendered their guns were paid full current value for their guns. No one quibbled about the price the government paid them, as the prices were more than fair market value. The simple math is that 643,000 into $320 million works out at an average of $AUS 498 per gun. In American terms about $US 250. What crap! Guns vary in price, like cars. You can get a cheapie or you can pay a fortune. But you cannot get a decent gun for $498. (I'll use Australian dollars from now on.) Reasonably good second-hand guns go for between $600 and $1200. This doesn't begin to consider the race guns and high-powered rifles and shotguns worth around $2,000, each which were surrendered. Even in 1996, anything costing less than $500 was a bottom of the line old piece that probably didn't even work. Why are the spin-doctors saying the buyback cost $320 million when the true figure was in excess of $500 million?

Why are they saying that Australia is a safer place? The report rests its criteria for success on the fact that, since 1996, there have been no gun mass murders in Australia. Whoopee! Tell this wonderful news to the families of the 13 victims of the June 2000 Childers Backpacker Hostel fire. The convicted murderer used a match to kill his prey. Or the 10 victims of the so-called "bodies in the barrels murders." These unfortunates were bashed, bludgeoned, and tortured. But they were not shot. So all is well. 13 dead by murder is not mass murder unless a gun is involved. I wonder if it makes any difference to the victims.

The point is that the media are again in a frenzy about guns. The buzz is out that guns are bad and must be banned, totally. Okay, I'll agree to this happily if the government will be consistent in their zeal to make Australia a safer place. Last week one idiot 20 year-old driver killed himself and five others by driving his car at excessive speed on a dark, windy road. Every weekend, the news is the same. Young male drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol kill dozens of innocent Australians. Each week. Imagine the uproar if their were a gun massacre each week. There has not been one gun massacre since April 1996, yet idiots create greater death tolls each week. The government focuses on the gun as the source of danger. Okay then, what about the car? Why not a total ban on cars, then? Clearly Australia will be a safer place. Oh, you say that it is not the car, which is at fault, but the driver? There are many responsible drivers. Hmm, then why is it the shooter who is at fault instead of the gun? There are 200,0001 responsible shooters in Australia. I am two thousand2 times more likely to die at the hands of a reckless driver than a rogue shooter.

Why am I not surprised that this is all happening in Australia at the same time as there is a rogue sniper on the loose in America? Perhaps I'm just paranoid, but I sense a connection.

1 The number of licensed shooters in Australia is about 800,000, not 200,000.

2 Make that eight thousand.

Source: Babel Magazine